Explosive Action Planned at Belmont

Belmont Park will celebrate the Fourth of July holiday weekend by offering six graded stakes worth more than $1.35 million. The weekend action gets underway with Friday's running of the Prioress Stakes (gr. I) and also includes the Suburban Handicap (gr. I).

Trainer Richard Dutrow, who won the 2002 edition with Carson Hollow, is hoping Cyber Secret will net him and owner Sanford Goldfarb a return visit to the winner's circle.

A multiple stakes winner, Cyber Secret enters the Prioress off a seven-week layoff. She last ran in the Nassau County Breeders' Cup (gr. II), finishing second to House Party.

Others pointing toward the Prioress includes: Belong to Sea, Chimichurri, Forever Partners, House Party, In Secure, Princess V., Randaroo, and Wild Snitch.

The Prioress is a standalone event, but it will get some support from two grade II handicaps -- the Tom Fool and New York.

The Tom Fool will likely feature Here's Zealous, Najran, Northern Rock, State City, Vodka, and Voodoo. Peeping Tom and Aldebaran are possible starters.

Of the confirmed starters, Buckram Oak Farm's Najran looks the best. A 4-year-old, Najran won the May 7 Westchester Handicap (gr. III). The colt has not raced since beating only one horse home in the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I). Nick Zito will saddle Najran.

The New York Handicap has seven confirmed starters. They are Dress to Thrill, Lilac Queen, Mariensky, Owsley, Pertuisane, Riskaverse, and Snow Dance. Longshots Affirmed Dancer and Beyond the Waves are also possible.
Not much separates Dress to Thrill, Mariensky, Pertuisane, and Riskaverse.

The highlight of the weekend will be Saturday's Suburban Handicap. Dollar Bill, Evening Attire, Harlan's Holiday, Hero's Tribute, Judge's Case, Mineshaft, and Volponi will battle it out in what could be called the season's top handicap race thus far.

The weekend wraps up Sunday, when a talented group of 3-year-olds line up for the Dwyer Handicap (gr. II). Pointing to the Dwyer are Best Minister, Colita, Go Rockin' Robin, Midas Eyes, Sky Mesa, and Strong Hope. Dynever is a good possibility along with Nacheezmo.

The John Ward Jr.-trained Sky Mesa will be making his sophomore debut in the Dwyer. A colt by Pulpit, he won Saratoga's Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) in early September before taking the Lane's End Futurity (gr. II) at Keeneland.